President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE said Thursday he does not believe the coronavirus vaccine should be mandatory but added that he will strongly encourage Americans "to do the right thing."
"I don't think it should be mandatory. I wouldn't demand it to be mandatory," Biden said at a news conference in Wilmington, Del. "Just like I don't think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide."
"I'll do everything in my power as president of the United States to encourage people to do the right thing and when they do it, demonstrate that it matters," he said.
The president-elect's latest comments reflect his push to set an example for the American people in combatting the coronavirus pandemic. Biden revealed this week that he will ask Americans in his inaugural address to wear a mask for 100 days in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. He has also said he is willing to take the vaccine publicly.
The first vaccine candidates for the virus are expected to receive emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. this month. Officials have said the first doses will go to front-line health care workers and at-risk populations.
Biden said he and his team have been in communication with the Trump administration on its distribution plan, but raised concerns over the strategy.
“They’ve clued us in on their planning, on how they plan to distribute the actual vaccine to the states, but there is no detailed plan, that we’ve seen anyway, as to how you get the vaccine out of the container into an injection syringe and into someone’s arm,” he said.